Monday, September 22, 2008

President Asif Ali Zardari, A 10% Scammer or a 100 % Pakistani?

 Asif Ali Zardari, President of Pakistan

by Nayyar Hashmey

          As I write these lines, words echo in my mind, words she uttered in her last  

So said Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, “My dear brothers and my dear sisters, this is the time when our country is in turmoil. My country, your country” said B. Bhutto “is in serious travails and turpitudes; I have come to you to help me save this land. Help me my brothers, my sisters, to save our motherland”. Shortly after she had uttered these words, she was shot at by an unknown assailant. She could not even leave the public park she had chosen to address.

 After she was out of scene, situation moved at an electric speed. Erstwhile dictator, who had orchestrated all machinations, fair or foul and turned this country into a marionette, had to resign. In the aftermath, Mohtarma‘s hubby got catapulted to the seat of presidency.

But the irony continues to haunt this nation. The inheritor of Mohtarma’s   legacy, her vision and her struggle occupies the place where an erstwhile dictator, with the sheer use of force got himself seated for 8 years.

Now when I ponder over BB’s last words, the whole scene seems to me like an action replay. The words she uttered then were as true then as they are now. This country, this most beloved land of ours is still in turmoil, even though the man who was the life partner of that graceful lady, who ruled and still rules over the hearts of millions of have-nots in Pakistan, is sitting on the throne of Pakistan. Yet this country is back to square one. Things have gone from bad to worse. Terrorists whosoever, are bombing the nerve centre of the country. Just the day before yesterday at some minutes walk from the National Assembly; they bombed the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad, 60 people, almost all civilians died in the blast.

In last 8 years the ex dictator was telling us, like a worn out recorded tape that he saved Pakistan from wrath of the US when the later threatened him to send Pakistan into stone age. [it later transpired that this threat did not come from the US President, as our the then President Gen.(R) Pervaiz Musharraf maintained but from an Assistant Secretary of State and the language too was not the same that the ex General told this nation].

Although many Pakistanis did not believe then and I myself had strong reservations on this so called Stone Age statement and the way it was played by ex dictator to dread his own people, yet we believed then and we believe it today that had there been a democratic polity, a truly democratic culture in Pakistan, the matter would never have been settled or decided the way, it was [when this country was unconditionally thrown to the mercy of the United States of America and mind it, it was not the US of Thomas Jefferson or of George Washington, it was the US of Neocons like George Walker Bush, Dick Cheney, Donny Rumsfield and Condy Rice who think they have a divine right, destined to annihilate the governments, the people, the armies in the name of democracy, free world and liberty, so on and so forth].

Whether it was the threats, the persuasions or fear of these Pentagon and White House guys, is immaterial. Fact remains that ex dictator succumbed to those threats and accepted whatever the neocons told him. What the then President did on their askance, he said, was to save Pakistan, a position which he later cleverly tried to camouflage under the slogan “Sab Se Pehle Pakistan (SSPP), but the price this country paid for this SSPP policy was the sale of innocent Pakistanis to unknown agents within and outside Pakistan and till today one does not know what was their sin, their doing and where they are now.

In Punjabi there is a story where under similar circumstances this country has been brought to by the ex dictator and the incumbent President, in which a man belonging to the rural singing clan in our villages (who are usually the butts of humour in our countryside) was asked by the village head to opt out of the two options only… Either eat 100 onions at a time, or get 100 shoe beatings (littars). The poor man using all his wits opts to take 100 onions. Thinks he, ‘100 shoe beatings are too hard to bear’, hence take onions. But after having eaten some dozens of onions, he cries “No Sir am going to accept 100 shoe beatings instead”. In this dilemma he eats 100 onions and gets 100 shoe beatings too. So dear readers, this is how the ex General made this country to have a punishment in either way. Eaten 100 onions and……

The ex General President allied this country to the US and Pakistan became a frontline state, however, with that status we, Pakistanis, the most allied ally of the US, are being bombed by US forces in Fata where poor, innocent civilians are dying after every chopper attack or through drone raids in our territory. So both ways, we are facing the punishment as it happened with the mirasi boy in a Punjabi village. Perhaps this is the first and the only instance in the history where a major power is attacking its own ally.

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any change from the stance taken by the ex-General. We are still America’s ally and our poor innocent civilians are being bombed by the US and its coalition partners.

Gen de Gaulle, one time President of France once said, 70 million French can’t be wrong, so on an analogy 160 millions Pakistanis can’t be wrong either—to push Mr. Zardari to the coveted seat of the country’s presidency. It’s very much for Mr. Zardari to prove whether 160 million Pakistanis were indeed not wrong to elect him?
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